Bush vs. Kyoto

America’s environmental policy

, by Elisabeth Velle

 Bush vs. Kyoto

North-American transport and industries are responsible for no less than a quarter of all world emissions of greenhouse gasses. Until now, the stubborn US government always neglected to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. But individual states made efforts independently from the Bush government.

In the state of California for example, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made plans with the first minister of the Canadian province British Columbia to build a “hydrogen motorway” along the west coast of the United States and Canada. This way, environment-friendly cars would be able to refuel at any time. Schwarzenegger himself drives an environment-friendly Hummer and such initiatives made him very popular with the public. Until now, the initiatives of the individual states did not have much future without the support of the Bush government.

But things started to change on the 3rd of April 2007...

At last, one positive signal came from the US thanks to the Supreme Court. The Court ruled that the federal government had the authority to regulate heat-trapping gases and demanded measures to reduce the emissions of these gasses. The Court’s ruling was welcomed by the Congress and the states which will use the decision to speed up their own efforts to regulate the kind of gases causing global climate change.

In a reaction the day after the Supreme Court’s ruling, President Bush started with an empty statement about global warming being a serious problem, which is caused partly by men. Furthermore, G.W. Bush astonishingly claimed that the measures he had taken were far sufficient!! Moreover, the US is unwilling to take any action without the cooperation and same concessions of China. The president also stated that without sufficient guarantees for the automobile industry and the economical growth of the United States in a whole, further environmental action is absolutely out of the question.

Despite the negative response of the president to the Supreme Court’s ruling, American and world citizens do expect the Congress and states to take further action. Bush can continue to try and avoid serious measures, but the Democratic majority in the Congress won’t give the President many chances on doing so. The Congress with its Spokesperson Nancy Pelosi is working on a bill to reduce the emission of exhaust gases. Let us hope Bush will suffer enough pressure from the American people to ratify the Kyoto-protocol after all and modify American environmental laws accordingly!


- BARRINGER (Felicity), YARDLEY (William), Bush splits with Congress and States on emissions, in: The New York Times, April 4, 2007.
- KOOLS (Frank), Hooggerechtshof dwingt Bush broeikaseffect aan te pakken, in: De Standaard, 4 april 2007.

Also check out our FEDwatch article ’’Kyoto: National Interest vs. Global Responsibility"


- Night Shift, source: Flickr

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